The growing Chinese Canadian family of Lee Mong Kow and Seto Chan Ann
- ca. 1903, 1910, 1911
- see below
- photographic prints
- The Lee family, about 1903, BCA A-02348
- The Lee family, about 1903, BCA D-05833
- The family in 1911, BCA F-08202
- The Lee family in the 1910s, BCA D-06983
This collection of the Lee family photos shows the growth of this Chinese Canadian family in the first two decades of the twentieth century. Because of early immigration patterns, starting with the Gold Rush in 1858, and discriminatory acts against the Chinese, Chinese Canadian communities remained largely male until the 1970s. Those who managed to establish families grew to become the largest Canadian-born Chinese community, many of whom had close ties to Victoria’s and Vancouver’s Chinatowns at the turn of the twentieth century. The Lee family was part of the community.
Lee Mong Kow was an immigrant from Hong Kong, and Seto Chang Ann was born in Canada of Chinese Canadian parents. Lee worked as the chief interpreter for the Chinese immigration services of the Department of Customs from 1889 to 1920. Lee Mong Kow helped founded Le Gun YiShu, a free Chinese school in Victoria’s Chinatown in the 1890s. It became the Victoria Chinese Public School in 1899, and Lee Mong Kow served as its first principal. Seto Chang Ann played many active roles in this school, and it became the first Chinese school in North America to hire female teachers.
Their family prospered, and today their numerous descendants live in many different countries.